Gina Leishman

Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, and Singer

April 30th – New York, still…

well… how to address the bombshell? (aside from the fact that on April 3rd I had my medicare birthday – how it that possible??)

In early February I decided to finally take advantage of my new Obamacare health plan and get myself thoroughly checked out, particularly to see a cardiologist, after last winter’s scare in Bali… I was given a 30-day heart monitor and an echo-cardiogram, both of which checked out fine, other than the usual funky heart valve and arrhythmia, both normal for me… I also got a routine mammogram, and one thing led to another and here I am, 3 months later, looking at becoming a one-breasted amazon and having months and months of chemo… okay… life is definitely what happens while you’re busy making other plans – I was due to head across the pond april 1st for 2 weeks in cotherstone, to put things back to rights after the repair work, and then 4 or 5 months in menorca, planting the garden, painting the house, and generally returning to the life of the payesa that I love so much, and which is necessary both spiritually and financially – I’m paying for half the upkeep anyway, and with no work in nyc I can’t afford to stay here for more than half the year… plus my sis really needs my help, and company… but I ain’t going anywhere for a while… so get used to it…

The two weeks after the initial diagnosis on march 17th were a total roller-coaster: initially a radical mastectomy was scheduled, then a few days later a test result came in and it was “change of plan, 4 months of chemo first” and then it was “hmmm, don’t like the look of these results, need another biopsy” – and then weeks of waiting, first for the second biopsy and then for the second set of results… hard to settle into anything in this waiting mode, learning the true meaning of the word “DIS-ease”…

But the silver lining is that these past 6 weeks have given me time for numerous wondrous things. First, a chance to get in better shape for things to come: my disparate group of nyc girlfriends clubbed together and bought me a fabulous juicer, resulting in large glasses of green juice daily (thank heavens for the abingdon square farmers’ market); swimming at the Y, 2 or 3 times a week; and getting back into daily chi gong, all of which now seem completely necessary to me on a daily basis… Second, and hugely important, is the discovery of what an amazing group of friends I have here… I am truly home, and despite wanting to be elsewhere (on the island, in my garden) I am truly in the best place I could be… On top of just generally being there for me, coming to appointments with me etc., they have created a campaign to raise funds for me (this whole thing is very scary financially) – I am humbled….

Meanwhile, I have managed to seize the carp sufficiently to start recording the next “album”, working in fits and starts as time and schedule allow (god bless kilgore and all who work with him), and going to the occasional wonderful concert (mostly on the guest list, the only way I can normally do it) – from Steven and 3 guitarists (including Tronzo) at the Greenwich Music School, to the NY Phil playing Sibelius 7th and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, to Frank London’s Art Ensemble Tribute at the Stone… and Kenny’s 50th birthday bash at Nu-Blu… take advantage as you can, gina…. also taking advantage of friends out of town – two weekends up in nyack, hanging out in the back yard drinking wine and playing “onze”, and 3 days up in the berkshires, in blissful peace and quiet, nothing but trees and grass and copious birdsong (and evan playing scales in preparation for italy), with great food and easy company in a log house… thank you, one and all…

This is all a giant life lesson is learning to live in the moment, day by day, being grateful for what is, to make no plans, and to have patience (cliches are cliches for a reason…). poc a poc…

p.s. happy one week birthday, Numa Scalora – you have wonderful parents…